Turkey’s constitution contains many provisions for the protection of the environment. Article 56 states:“Everyone has the right to live in a healthy and balanced environment. It is the duty of the State and citizens to improve the natural environment, to protect environmental health and to prevent environmental pollution. The State shall regulate central planning and functioning of the health services to ensure that everyone leads a healthy life physically and mentally, and provide cooperation by saving and increasing productivity in human and material resources. The State shall fulfill this task by utilizing and supervising the health and social assistance institutions, in both the public and private sectors. In order to establish widespread health services, general health insurance may be introduced by law.
Article 169 reads: “The State shall enact the necessary legislation and take the measures required for the protection and extension of forests. Burnt forest areas shall be reforested; other agricultural and stockbreeding activities shall not be allowed in such areas. All forests shall be under the care and supervision of the State. The ownership of state forests shall not be transferred. State forests shall be managed and exploited by the State in accordance with the law. Ownership of these forests shall not be acquired by prescription, nor shall servitude other than that in the public interest be imposed in respect of such forests. Acts and actions that might damage forests shall not be permitted. No political propaganda that might lead to the destruction of forests shall be made; no amnesties or pardons specifically for offenses against forests shall be granted. Offenses committed with the intention of burning or destroying forests or reducing forest areas shall not be included within the scope of amnesties or pardons.The reducing of forest areas shall be prohibited, except in respect of areas whose preservation as forests is considered scientifically and technically useless but conversion into agricultural land has been found to be definitely advantageous, and in respect of fields, vineyards, orchards, olive groves or similar areas which technically and scientifically ceased to be forest before December 31, 1981 and whose use for agricultural or stockbreeding purposes has been found advantageous, and in respect of built-up areas in the vicinity of cities, towns or villages”
Finally, Article 170 reveals that “Measures shall be introduced by law to secure cooperation between the State and the inhabitants of villages located in or near forests in the supervision and exploitation of forests for the purpose of ensuring conservation of forests and their integrity, and improving the living conditions of these inhabitants; the law shall also regulate the exploitation of areas which technically and scientifically ceased to be forests before December 31, 1981; the identification of areas whose preservation as forest is considered scientifically and technically useless, their exclusion from forest boundaries and their improvement by the State for the purpose of settling all or some of the inhabitants of forest villages in them, and their allocation to these villages”.